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The newspaper business is a dying one. We've seen the papers in Seattle and Denver shut down and thousands of journalists have been laid off this year as publishers struggle to retain subscribers and advertisers as the public moves to online sources for news.

In light of this, I think it's impressive that The State newspaper, the largest in South Carolina, has led the country in breaking the news about Gov. Mark Sanford and his lies about his extramarital affair. The Columbia paper has beaten out national media and every other news outlet in the state in covering this story, reporting exclusive, after exclusive.

The paper had a reporter ambushing the governor as he was getting off a flight from Argentina in Atlanta. They also obtained emails between the governor and his mistress, which they published on their website this evening.

The paper and its staff deserves a thank you from the people of South Carolina and the people who potentially would have voted for Sanford were he to run for President in 2012.

But I am troubled that the paper had these emails in its possession since December and held back in publishing them until today. Since they knew the Governor was having an affair, why did they defend him in this editorial when we thought he was on the Appalachian Trail? Why did the reporter sent to ambush him at the Atlanta airport not confront him with the emails and the knowledge of the affair at the airport?

I get that they want to sell papers -- the Governor will help them with that, no doubt -- but were some standards of journalism broken here? It seems to me they should have confronted the Governor as soon as the emails came into their possession. They should have investigated his previous state-funded trips to Argentina and they should have reported before now that the Governor and his wife were separated for the last two weeks.

Maybe I am being too hard on them. What do you think?

Crossposted at Fake Virginia. (Check out my thoughts on what Gov. Sanford should do next.)

Originally posted to Fake Virginia on Wed Jun 24, 2009 at 08:40 PM PDT.

Poll

Did The State newspaper make the right decision to hold back on publishing the emails between Gov. Mark Sanford and his mistress, which they had since December?

36%36 votes
46%46 votes
12%12 votes
6%6 votes

| 100 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  According to the reporter, Geena Smith (sp) (5+ / 0-)

    that 'ambushed' Sanford in Atlanta this morning, several reporters from The State had received the emails from an anonymous source (some as early as December '08).
    They didn't publish then (12/08) since they weren't properly sourced.

    Don't Come Closer... I have Rabies.

    by cosette on Wed Jun 24, 2009 at 08:46:22 PM PDT

  •  both The State and The Greenville News (7+ / 0-)

    did a pretty good job with this.  As a local (from Greenville originally) I've made a sport of trashing the Greenville News for years as utterly devoid of anything like real reporting.  But they stepped up and did their jobs with this one.

    As to the emails, I have mixed feelings. I'm sort of glad they didn't run with the emails when they received them. Adultery isn't good, obviously, but it's also private if it doesn't impact job performance.  Put another way, there are 1000 reasons Sanford's job performance was subpar that have nothing to do with his flowery prose.  Just ask the Republicans in the SC legislature who hate his guts.  Arguably they could run with the hypocrisy angle, but Sanford's cornerstone issue is extreme fiscal conservatism, so the revelation of an affair might not have made much of a splash.

    But when the affair resulted in Sanford running out on his job without making arrangements for continuity of power, well, that is unequivocally newsworthy.  The fact that there was an affair and all sorts of bizarre and, in hindsight, embarrassing thrashing about from his staff and his wife to explain (or, in Mrs. Sanford's case, not explain) his whereabouts, that's blood in the water.

    Someone is wrong on the Internet! To the Kosmobile!

    by socratic on Wed Jun 24, 2009 at 08:52:01 PM PDT

  •  Find out where Sanford was in late April (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orange County Liberal

    The Lt. Gov. is already on record saying he was hard to reach (even out of the state) during the Myrtle Beach fires.

    •  The Gov and the Lt. Gov haven't spoken in yrs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmo, Orange County Liberal

      or so I am told by a friend related to a GOP member of the Legislature.

      •  No love lost between Sanford and Bauer (0+ / 0-)

        In 2006 Jenny Sanford endorsed Lt. Gov. Bauer's primary opponent, Mike Campbell.  It was seen by many as an unofficial endorsement from Sanford. Needless to say, they don't get along.

        The concern for many in South Carolina is that Bauer isn't any less irresponsible.  He got pulled over a couple of times for doing over 100mph on the freeway, then used the "don't you know who I am" defense to the officer.  His Democratic opponent, Robert Barber, somehow managed to get the highway patrol video and put it in his commercials. Still, Bauer has a very loyal base of support, which is how he managed to get re-elected.

        "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat." - Will Rogers

        by wayward on Thu Jun 25, 2009 at 04:05:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Rachel Maddow interviewed Gina Smith wThe State (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orange County Liberal

    Ms. Smith was not aware -- at least fully aware -- that her paper had the emails in their possession in December. (That's the impression she gave on Maddow tonight.)

    She did indicate that he had them when she confronted the Governor at the ATL airport. Apparently, the paper had to check with lawyers and opted to confront someone on the Governor's staff with the news that they had the emails. Ms. Smith did not confront the Governor about the emails even though she knew them to be between a woman in Argentina and she knew he was coming off of a flight from Buenos Aires.

    I am wondering about the sequence of events though. Why would the editor allow the editorial board to publish such a ridiculous editorial in today's paper when they had to know that something was up?

    Why not ask the Governor on the spot, "Governor, did you send these emails? Is this who you went to see in Argentina?"

    It seems like the paper sat on this news so they could continue to string out this story.

  •  First hand acct from reporter who ambush Sanford (0+ / 0-)

    Gina Smith, the reporter with The State newspaper who ambushed Gov. Sanford at the ATL airport, doesn't mention the emails here.

    She dodges the issue entirely. Hmmm.

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